Yes, I know. Just when you thought I’d given up on blogging, or maybe just fallen asleep on the toilet for the last month, I come back in to woo you with another entry. I’ve been meaning to sit down and write for the last week or so, but every time I do, it just seems a lot easier to watch Arrested Development or The Sopranos instead, so here we are.
Another, slightly better excuse for part of my delay in writing is the fact that my family was here to visit me! That’s right, a Rudnick Reunion, albeit incomplete, in Anyang, South Korea. Probably couldn’t have predicted that one a year ago if I’d tried. In any case, my Mom, Dad, and Johanna arrived first, followed by little brother Howie, who came to join us about five days later. Having them here was great- it was the first time I’d seen my family since the beginning of August (other than through pixilated images on skype), and when I met them at their hotel in Indeogwon, I don’t think I’ve smiled so wide in a long time.
They arrived late on a Friday night (better known as Christmas Day, to most people), assisted from the airport by an outstandingly friendly cab driver—after he dropped them off that night, he called me on my cell just to make sure they got into the hotel room okay and to wish me a Merry Christmas—who they ended up using to get Howie from the airport later in the week, as well as on their return trip when they left.
After we dropped off their luggage (and there was a lot of it), our first official business in Korea was to go to the Baskin Robbins down the street for some late-night ice cream (something that probably wouldn’t surprise anyone who knows my family even a little, or at least taken a peek inside our freezer at home). Walking with my family on the streets of Korea gave me a very strange sensation. I guess I’d had these two worlds—home and Korea—a lot more separated in my head than I’d thought, so to see them interacting for the first time was odd, to say the least. It made me feel like I was in a foreign country again in a way I hadn’t experienced since my first few weeks here. I got used to it eventually, but those first few minutes were very disorienting.
I won’t bore you with the details of their whole itinerary, but suffice it to say that we had a pretty busy couple of weeks, mostly sightseeing (temples, palaces, museums, and markets), eating, shopping (probably a lot more than my Dad would have liked) and sipping hot drinks at coffee shops around the city to escape the blistering cold that coincided with their arrival. I did get them to try a bit of the local cuisine (both Mom and Dad became fans of bibimbap by the time they left, while Johanna preferred the kimbap and Howie mostly stuck to bulgogi), but I ate more Italian and Mexican food while they were here (Yeah, Mexican in Korea- it’s actually not that bad, assuming your standards aren’t too high) than I had in my whole five months prior in this country. It was a nice change of pace for me, and made me realize how used to Korean food I’ve gotten.
Like I said, just having them here was really, really nice- a great reminder that, yes, home does still exist somewhere out there. Even the arguments and slight bickering that comes with any Rudnick gathering had me smiling. Plus, part of their massive amount of luggage was an assortment of items for yours truly- an awesome Kendrick Perkins sweatshirt from Lavi (who was sorely missed, I should mention) for Chanukah, a couple of pairs of pants that actually fit me, and a large bulk of dried figs and dates that I’d been salivating over for months. I guess it’s funny what you miss when you’re away.
As a final note, I want to give a shout-out to my little brother and his brand-spanking new blog, hrudnick.blogspot.com, where he'll be accounting for his adventures and probably more than a few misadventures on his semester abroad in Cape Town, South Africa. While he probably could have been a tad more creative with the name, it's sure to be a hit. Plus, as the saying goes, "two Rudnicks traveling the world and writing about it is better than one."